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Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC)

Thin-layer chromatography is a separation technique in which a stationary phase consisting of an appropriate material is spread in a uniform thin layer on a support (plate) of glass, metal or plastic. Solutions of analytes are deposited on the plate before development. The separation is based on adsorption, partition, ion-exchange or on combinations of these mechanisms and is carried out by migration (development) through the thin-layer (stationary phase) of solutes (solutions of analytes) in a solvent or a suitable mixture of solvents (mobile phase).

Aparatus
1.

2.
3. 4. 5.

Plates The chromatography A chromatographic tank Micropipettes, microsyringes, calibrated disposable capillaries Fluorescence detection device Visualisation reagents

Plates

The chromatography is carried out using coated plates as described under 4.1.1. Reagents (Appendix I A). Pre-conditioning of the plates. It may be necessary to wash the plates before use. This can be done by migration of an appropriate solvent. The plates may also be impregnated by procedures such as development, immersion or spraying. At the time of use, the plates may be activated, if necessary, by heating in an oven at 100 to 105 for 1 hour.

A chromatographic tank

A chromatographic tank with a flat bottom or twin trough, of inert, transparent material and of a size suitable for the plates used and provided with a tightly fitting lid. For horizontal development the tank is provided with a trough for the mobile phase and it additionally contains a device for directing the mobile phase to the stationary phase.

Micropipettes, microsyringes, calibrated disposable capillaries


Micropipettes,

microsyringes, capillaries or

calibrated

disposable

other application devices suitable for the proper application of the solutions.

Fluorescence detection device


Fluorescence

detection

device or

to the

measure

direct

fluorescence

inhibition of fluorescence

Visualisation reagents
Visualisation

reagents to detect the

separated spots by spraying, exposure to vapour or immersion.

METHOD

Vertical development Line the walls of the chromatographic tank with filter paper. Pour into the chromatographic tank a sufficient quantity of the mobile phase for the size of the tank to give after impregnation of the filter paper a layer of appropriate depth related to the dimension of the plate to be used. For saturation of the chromatographic tank, replace the lid and allow to stand at 20 to 25 for 1 hour. Unless otherwise indicated, the chromatographic separation is performed in a saturated tank.

Apply

the prescribed volume of the solutions in sufficiently small portions to obtain bands or circular spots at an appropriate distance from the lower edge and from the sides of the plate. Apply the solutions on a line parallel to the lower edge of the plate with an interval of at least 10 mm between the spots.

When

the solvent has evaporated from the applied solutions, place the plate in the chromatographic tank ensuring that the plate is as vertical as possible and that the spots or bands are above the surface of the mobile phase. Close the chromatographic tank, maintain it at 20 to 25 and protect from sunlight. Remove the plate when the mobile phase has moved over the prescribed distance. Dry the plate and visualise the chromatograms as prescribed.

For

two-dimensional chromatography, dry

the plates after the first development and carry out a second development in a direction perpendicular to that of the first development.

Horizontal development
Horizontal

development Apply the prescribed volume of the solutions in sufficiently small portions to obtain circular spots 1 mm to 2 mm in diameter, or bands 5 mm to 10 mm by 1 mm to 2 mm, at an appropriate distance from the lower edge and from the sides of the plate. Apply the solutions on a line parallel to the lower edge of the plate with an interval of at least 5 mm between the spots.

When the solvent has evaporated from the applied solutions, introduce a sufficient quantity of the mobile phase into the trough of the chamber using a syringe or pipette, place the plate horizontally in the separating chamber and connect the mobile phase direction device according to the manufacturer's instructions. If prescribed, develop the plate starting simultaneously at both ends. Close the chamber and maintain it at 20 to 25. Remove the plate when the mobile phase has moved over the distance prescribed in the monograph. Dry the plate and visualise the chromatograms as prescribed. For two-dimensional chromatography, dry the plates after the first development and carry out a second development perpendicular to that of the first development

VISUAL ESTIMATION
Identification

The principal spot in the chromatogram obtained with the test solution is compared visually to the corresponding spot in the chromatogram obtained with the reference solution by comparing the colour, the size and the retention factor (Rf) of both spots.

The

retention factor (Rf) is defined as the ratio of the distance from the point of application to the leading edge of the spot and the distance travelled by the solvent front from the point of application. Verification of the separating power for identification. Normally the performance given by the suitability test described in Reagents is sufficient. Only in special cases an additional performance criterion is prescribed in the monograph.

Related

substances test Secondary spot(s) in the chromatogram obtained with the test solution is (are) compared visually to either the corresponding spot(s) in the chromatogram obtained with the reference solution containing the impurity(ies) or the spot in the chromatogram obtained with the reference solution prepared from a dilution of the test solution.

Verification

of the separating power. The requirements for the verification of the separating power are given in the monographs concerned Verification of the detecting power. The detecting power is satisfactory if a spot or band is clearly visible in the chromatogram obtained with the most dilute reference solution.

QUANTITATIVE MEASUREMENT
Substances

responding to UV-Vis irradiation separated by thin-layer chromatography can be determined directly on the plate using appropriate instrumentation. While moving the plate or the measuring device, examine the plate by measuring the reflectance or transmittance of the incident light. Similarly fluorescence may be measured using an appropriate optical system.

Apparatus
1.

2.

3.

A device for exact positioning and reproducible dispensing of the amount of substances on the plate A mechanical device to move the plate or the measuring device along the x-axis or the y-axis recorder and a suitable integrator or a computer

Aparatus
4. For substances responding to UV-Vis irradiation: a photometer with a source of light, an optical device able to generate monochromatic light and a photo cell of adequate sensitivity are used for the measurement of reflectance or transmittance. 5. for substances containing radionuclides: a suitable counter for radioactivity. The linearity range of the counting device is to be verified

Method
Method

Prepare the solution of the substance being examined (test solution) as prescribed and, if necessary, prepare the reference solutions of the substance being determined using the same solvent as in the test solution. Apply the same volume of each solution to the plate and develop

Substances responding to UVVis irradiation

Substances responding to UV-Vis irradiation: Prepare and apply not fewer than three reference solutions of the substance being examined, the concentrations of which span the expected value in the test solution (about 80, 100 and 120%). Spray with the prescribed reagent, if necessary, and record the reflectance, the transmittance or fluorescence in the chromatograms obtained with the test and reference solutions. Use the measured results for the calculation of the amount of substance in the test solution.

Substances containing radionuclides


Substances

containing radionuclides: Prepare and apply a test solution containing about 100% of the expected value. Determine the radioactivity as a function of the path length and report the radioactivity in each resulting peak as a percentage of the total amount of radioactivity